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Ovation: Happy National Cheese Fondue Day!

04/11/2013

411CheeseDayBaby Boomers might remember the fondue fad of their childhoods when dinner parties consisted of folks gathering with long forks to stick little pieces of just about anything into tubs of hot oil, cheese or chocolate situated above Sterno flames in the center of the table.  As a youngster, I wanted nothing more than to enjoy fondue but, try as I might, I could rarely convince my parents to let me participate.  Perhaps it was too much like “playing with my food”, they thought I might burn myself or, more likely, I would finish off the chocolate and cheese before guests even arrived.

NationalCheeseFondueDayFondue originated in Switzerland as a way to use up old cheese!  Deriving from the French verb fonder, meaning “to melt,” fondue was a classic peasant dish until the early 1950s when a New York chef introduced a method of cooking meat cubes in hot oil.  Chocolate fondue followed in 1964.  Soon, foods in addition to meat cubes, including cakes, fruits, breads and vegetables, were being skewered on long forks and warmed in a fondue pot.

Today is National Cheese Fondue Day!  For those who don’t already have a festive cheese-related agenda for the occasion, I offer the following recipe for your consideration.

MARTHA’S FAVORITE CHEESE DIP

1 pound Land O Lakes White American Cheese
1/3 cup sliced (or diced) jalapeño peppers
1/4 cup jalapeño juice
1 – 1½ cups milk

  1. Break/cut cheese into 1-inch chunks, place in microwave for about 3 minutes (if cheese starts to brown on the side of the dish, take it out and stir around a bit.
  2. Stir in about ½ – 2/3 cup milk, microwave an additional 3 minutes
  3. Stir well
  4. Microwave in 2- or 3-minute increments, adding milk until well-blended
  5. Stir in jalapeño peppers
  6. Stir in jalapeño juice
  7. Return to microwave for 1-2 minutes
  8. Add milk, as needed, to desired consistency

(*Add jalapeño and jalapeño juice to taste – however, go easy on the jalapeño  juice … too much makes the cheese separate.)

I love cheese dip.  My friends know that I call it a “magical elixir” because cheese dip makes everything better.  Sore throat?  Try some cheese dip.  Headache?  Cheese dip!  Heartbreak? Hangover?  Cheese dip!

What is YOUR “magical elixir”?

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4 Comments
  1. We break out the fondue set about once a year. You have given us a reason to do it again. The kids love it. Take care, BTG

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  2. Fondue was our fast food when we lived in Switzerland. But don’t bother with the recipe — even the Swiss use the stuff in the packages…

    And what on earth are they putting Fondu Day in April for? It’s a winter food, unless you’re a tourist.

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  3. I have never participated in a fondue in my life & have no desire to do so. I like to sit down to a meal & eat. I get impatient at restaurants when I have to wait for courses. Unless I’m playing cards I have no desire to sit at a table for longer than it takes me to eat my meal.
    The only exception for me is dinner theater.

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  4. When I read this back it seemed to me I appeared abrupt. That was not my intention. This is just not something I enjoy. I guess I just don’t find it all that comfortable to sit around a table for any length of time. Sorry for being a boob.

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